It has only been a day, but there is a large outcry over the fact that Netflix plans to introduce new subscriptions and change the rates of their old subscriptions. The biggest news is that people have the choice of having only one DVD out at a time for $8 or just stream online for $8. To combine the two plans is roughly $16 a month. That currently costs about $10 a month, so I guess there’s a little room for complaint.
But only a little. Netflix has been offering an amazing service for years now, and their move toward offering unlimited streaming content has definitely proven them superior to their competition. If you ask me, you really don’t need a DVD plan when you have streaming capability. The amount of quality content is incomparable, despite the absence of new releases and select titles by publishers. I’m still amazed by the fact that Better Off Ted‘s second season is available for streaming despite the fact that a DVD set has yet to see the light of day. This probably speaks highly of the direction in which Netflix is heading.
A couple months ago I came across an article on NewTeeVee discussing Netflix’s plans to extend the lives of shows on the chopping block. This suggests a serious focus on their streaming service as more than just an amenity for people renting DVDs. Netflix is essentially becoming its own network, free from the binds of advertisers and Nielsen ratings. Separating the revenue streams from streaming and DVDs is a great way to provide transparency during this move, not to mention the whole thing recognizes the value of the service. After all, if I only get one DVD out at a time, that means I can only really manage to watch 10 DVDs in the average month if I watch and send back titles immediately. Meanwhile, there is no temporal limitation on the number of streamed titles I can watch. Not to mention the fact that if the titles stay online for at least a year, it’s almost as good as owning the titles.
My attitude toward the shift is a lot more positive than many folks. If you scrolled down through the comments on the linked Netflix blog, you’ll see many people saying they can’t afford both and that Netflix has lost customers. Check out the same thing on the Consumerist and Lifehacker. The only good argument is that Netflix is charging customers more for a service they previously undervalued. Beyond that people are showing just how entitled they are. While $6 adds up to an additional $72 a year, acting like a business betrayed you by doing something completely in their rights just tells me how petty you are. Netflix has the right to change the pricing plan, and customers have the right to continue or discontinue their services. That’s the breakdown. All the whining and self-centered complaints are just childish.
It took a lot guts for Netflix to even suggest the pricing change, especially knowing how immature the public at large can be. I congratulate everyone who takes risks. In my household we have switched to streaming only in order to continue supporting Netflix. We have roughly 100 titles in our Instant Watch queue, with more added almost daily by me. Separating the plans makes perfect sense to me, since the DVDs generally sat by the DVD player…unwatched for weeks on end. I know my situation isn’t the same as other folks’. I’m just sharing that the change is far from universally unreasonable.